South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a bill Tuesday that would ban, at the federal level, most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a point when many experts say unborn babies can experience pain during abortion.
“I think we should have a law at the federal level that would say after 15 weeks, no abortion on demand – except in cases of rape, incest, to save the life of the mother,” Graham said at a press conference in which he introduced the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act with pro-life leaders.
“That should be where America’s at,” the senator said.
The bill states that, in 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Gonzales v. Carhart, “acknowledged that, by at least 12 weeks gestation, an unborn child has taken on ‘the human form’ in all relevant aspects.”
The legislation observes that, when surgery is performed on unborn children, “fetal anesthesia is routinely administered and is associated with a decrease in stress hormones compared to their level when painful stimuli are applied without such anesthesia.”
“So, here’s our point: if you have to provide anesthesia to keep the baby from feeling pain to help save its life, should we as a nation be aborting babies that can feel excruciating pain from an abortion?” Graham asked during the press conference.
Additionally, the bill notes:
The majority of abortion procedures performed after 15 weeks gestation are dismemberment abortion procedures which involve the use of surgical instruments to crush and tear an unborn child apart before removing the pieces of the dead child from the womb.
The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.
According to the “rules of construction” of Graham’s legislation, it would still allow states and localities to restrict abortion at stages of pregnancy earlier than 15 weeks:
Nothing in this section may be construed to preempt or limit any Federal, State, or local law that provides greater protections for an unborn child than those provided in this section.
Sen. Chuck Schumer at an event celebrating the Inflation Reduction Act:
'We’re here to talk about things that matter to families, lowering costs, creating jobs … What are the 'MAGA Republicans' doing over in the Capitol today? Introducing national bans on abortion’ pic.twitter.com/2uYC38fiei
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 13, 2022
Employing their recent political strategy of vilifying Americans who voted for Donald Trump as a “MAGA Republican,” Democrat leaders condemned Graham’s legislation.
“Proposals like the one today send a clear message from MAGA Republicans to women across the country: your body, our choice,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in reaction to the bill on the floor of the Senate, as reported by the New York Post.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also said in a statement Graham’s legislation “is the latest, clearest signal of extreme MAGA Republicans’ intent to criminalize women’s health freedom in all 50 states and arrest doctors for providing basic care.”
“With Roe now out of their way, extreme MAGA Republicans are gleefully charging ahead with their deadly crusade to punish and control women’s health decisions,” she said. “In sharp contrast, Democrats are fighting to put People Over Politics – and we will never relent until we restore the rights of Roe as the law of the land.”
Nancy Pelosi is objecting to legislation that is to the left of 47 European countries – France, Germany, Italy, Belgium – many of whom have abortion restrictions at the 12 week and 14 week periods.https://t.co/ngpuB5RV1T
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 13, 2022
National pro-life leaders say the Pain-Capable bill is “the least” that can be done at the federal level to protect the unborn and their mothers.
“Limiting abortions after 15 weeks is the least we can do to protect women, as well as babies who at this stage are already fully formed in their mother’s womb and can feel pain,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, in a statement:
It is consistent with what we know from science about the harm of late abortion, as well as in line with where Americans stand on the issue. After all, 90% of Americans reject the view that abortion should be legal up until birth. Politicians voting against this bill will stand against science and against the American public.
While results of a Harvard Harris poll conducted in June among 1,308 registered voters found 55 percent oppose the Court’s ruling to overturn Roe and return the issue of abortion to the states, results also showed only 10 percent of registered voters actually support the Democrat Party’s platform of unrestricted elective abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy in their respective states.
In response to the question “do you think your state should allow abortion…?” at various times during pregnancy, 23 percent of registered voters responded their state should support elective abortion up to 15 weeks, 12 percent said up to 6 weeks, 18 percent up to 23 weeks, and a full 37 percent said their state should allow abortion “only in cases of rape and incest.”
Meanwhile, the issues of inflation, the economy, and the cost of energy were foremost on voters’ minds while the poll was conducted. Biden, who has made unrestricted abortion and the embrace of gender ideology central to his administration’s goals, was found to have an overall approval rating that had dropped to a low of 38 percent.
CatholicVote President Brian Burch said Graham’s legislation “highlights the extremism of the Left, where no restrictions whatsoever are tolerated, including late-term abortions.”
“A vote against this bill would be a vote to inflict excruciating pain on innocent defenseless children,” he said.
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, provided some context in her statement about the proposed measure.
“Some changes require more of a society than others because the injustice and the harm have deep roots that have victimized disenfranchised people who have been helpless and unheard,” she said. “Protecting preborn life in law and in service represents the human rights issue of our day, long delayed because of the unconstitutional Roe v. Wade decision, which took nearly 50 years to correct.”
“With Roe gone, our legislators and citizens are now free to consider ideas today that even a few years ago would not have gotten attention,” Hawkins added. “It’s an exciting time of possibility and hope.”
The pro-life leader, who organizes young people on high school and college campuses throughout the nation, pointed out as well the 15-week protection legislation “is not our goal, but part of a journey that led through Mississippi to the Supreme Court to Washington D.C. today, and the Pro-Life Generation will not rest until even more lives can be saved from a tragic death even from the beginning of pregnancy.”
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